Skip to Content

Planning Your Trip

History buffs, nightlife seekers, business travelers and families alike find a multifaceted and ever-evolving array of attractions in Philadelphia — not to mention the warm human connections the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection holds dear.

A sky-high vantage of City Hall and the Philadelphia skyline.

Exploring the City

A revitalized downtown, artsy former industrial areas and creative new restaurants and breweries will have you exploring every inch of Philadelphia.

 

 

 

 

  • Philadelphia has four seasons: cold, snowy winters; hot, sunny summers; and lovely, though less predictable, autumns and springs. Bring season-appropriate, packable layers that mix and match, and a travel umbrella just in case.
  • Bring at least one pair of comfortable, flat shoes for walking plus one pair of dressier shoes for evening.
  • Finding the right daytime bag is worthy of your attention. Something that goes with everything and leaves your hands free, like a roomy leather tote or sleek backpack — is best for toting your essentials while you’re on the go.

Weekend Getaway

Fall in Philadelphia is crisp and cool, with temperatures from the 40s to the low 60s.  You could bring along a few summer items, for those sunny days, but no shorts, combined with layering pieces and a jacket. For late fall, a hat, gloves and scarf may be necessary on the chilliest days.

 

  • A long weekend is the perfect time to soak up Philly’s layered history and modern diversions. Pack light to keep your focus on mobility and comfort.
    Layers are your best clothing option when planning a trip to the Northeast. Pack several short- and long-sleeved cotton T-shirts or button-down shirts, as well as two or three light sweatshirts or cardigans and at least one warm sweater.
  • Bring a pair of socks for each day, plus several extra pairs and a few pairs of shoes: a fashionable sneaker does double duty in the fitness center and exploring the city; a fashionable flat can dash through the airport and take you on an evening out.
  • It’s always a good idea to load the weather app on your phone for the most recent forecast, though packing a small travel umbrella never hurts.

 

Cultural Considerations

Cultural Considerations

There’s nothing worse than starting a trip by fumbling with an unwieldy bag. Here’s how to make sure yours is perfectly packed.

 

 

 

 

  • Philly style is chic and simple. You can’t go wrong with well-made basics in complementary colors (or, when in doubt, black) that mix and match together with ease.
  • Philadelphia is dense with American history. Do some research in advance, bring a guidebook or ask your concierge or local contacts for information to make the most of your stay.
  • Even fine-dining restaurants here may have more relaxed dress codes than you’re used to. But Philadelphians enjoy dressing up, and looking sharp and sophisticated for an evening out is always in style.

 

 

suitcase icon

Don't Forget:

If you’re athletically inclined, pack your running or rowing gear so you can work out on Philadelphia’s many trails and rivers while enjoying another view of the city. Runners can follow in the footsteps of Rocky’s Sylvester Stallone with a jog up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, or hit one of the many trails that wind through the city or along the scenic Schuylkill River. Schuylkill Banks offers kayak tours of the city as well as scenic cruises offering historical views, including the Museum of Art and Boathouse Row.

 


The onetime capital of the United States, and the site where both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were signed, Philadelphia is rife with American history. But its contemporary pleasures are just as rich, so make sure you plan ahead to fit it all in.

Museum Tickets and Cultural Sights

museum icon

The best place to see the most in a short time is the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, which is lined by some of the city’s most important cultural institutions — the Barnes Foundation, the Franklin Institute, the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, the Rodin Museum, the Ruth and Raymond G. Perelman Building and the crowning Philadelphia Museum of Art. The parkway is celebrating its centennial in 2017, with 14 months of special Parkway 100 exhibitions, events, community conversations and promotions.

Children’s Activities

map icon

Philly’s streets are full of history, meaning children can learn in the most entertaining and lively of ways. The first stop on many families’ lists is the “Rocky” statue and steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and then it’s on to LOVE Park, defined by artist Robert Indiana’s iconic sculpture. Make a stop at the Please Touch children’s museum, where a world of indoor adventure makes for a fun-filled day in any weather. After a short history lesson at city hall or the Liberty Bell, treat them to an evening on the observation deck at Liberty Place or Boathouse Row, where the nighttime lights provide one of the city’s prettiest views.

Nightlife

cocktail icon

At night, Philadelphia is nonstop — it’s an exciting, welcoming place to sip cocktails, see live music or just do your own thing. Whether you’re dancing and dining in Old City, heading to a hipster hangout in South Philadelphia or catching a live jazz show in Northern Liberties, you are guaranteed a great time. Another lovable aspect about Philly after dark: Everything is conveniently close together. Whatever neighborhood you choose, you can almost certainly hit multiple hot spots that are just a short walk or cab ride away from each other.

Dining Reservations

place setting icon

From addictive cheesesteaks to street-side soft pretzels, Philadelphia has palate-pleasers to spare. But if you ask a local, you might find another favorite: BYOB. A combination of difficult-to-acquire liquor licenses and quirky liquor laws led to the city’s plethora of “bring your own bottle” establishments, but what began as a restaurant workaround has become an essential ingredient of the Philadelphia restaurant scene. Diners bring their alcohol of choice — wine, champagne, beer, even spirits — to the more than 300 BYOBs in the city, and chefs bring their best to the plate.

The only World Heritage City in the country, Philadelphia’s rich American history is ever present, from the statue of William Penn atop city hall to the serene squares and charming narrow streets of the Old City neighborhood that Penn envisioned in his original city plans. But thanks to art collections housed in sleek new buildings, the growth of riverside pop-up parks, and an eclectic dining scene led by talented chefs, Philadelphia also hums with a contemporary energy. For a city that’s home to so many of our nation’s firsts — hospital, zoo, library and more — Philadelphia endures as an exciting destination to revisit again and again.


Family Vacation Fun

Visitors flock to Philadelphia to get a firsthand look at the birthplace of American democracy. And for kids especially, the city offers the chance to see their history books come to life while exploring significant sites like the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. But there’s so much more for families to fall for in the City of Brotherly Love. From America’s first zoo to a riverside roller-skating rink and a hands-on science museum, spend some time getting to know Philadelphia.

 

Discover More

The Perfect Weekend

Once the nation’s capital and an integral part of the American Revolution, visitors spending a single weekend in Philadelphia should surely make time to explore the city’s rich history. But even a short stay should include a wander through museums that are as striking as the art hung on their walls, a stroll along quaint streets and markets, and a few memorable meals at restaurants that have helped make Philadelphia a world-class dining destination.

 

Discover More